A review by four Government departments - the Treasury, the Work and Pensions Department, the Inland Revenue and the Home Office - has concluded that 1,000 men in Britain are now polygamists, although some say the figure is higher. What is more, the review found, a Muslim man can claim state support of more than £10,000 a year to keep his wives, if the wedding took place in one of those countries where polygamy is commonplace, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia and across huge tracts of Africa. For example, a man can receive £92.80 a week in income support for wife number one, and a further £33.65 for each of his subsequent spouses. Therefore, if he has four wives - the maximum permitted under Islamic teachings - he can claim nearly £800 a month from the British taxpayer. Controversially, a polygamist is also entitled to more generous housing benefits and bigger council houses to reflect the large size of his family. He is also able to claim £1,000 a year in child benefit for each of his growing brood. Supporters of polygamy claim the Koran states unequivocally that a Muslim man can marry up to four women so long as he treats them equally. But the Taxpayers' Alliance, a lobby group, has complained: 'Polygamy is not officially condoned here, so why should British taxpayers have to pay for extra benefits for men to have two, three or four wives?'
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